Three additional people have died in San Diego County this flu season as the number of emergency room visits tied to influenza increased over the previous week.
A 50-year-old East County woman, a 62-year-old San Diego woman and an 84-year-old San Diego man died last week, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency. The HHSA said all three patients had underlying health issues.
Health officials update the status of the flu in a weekly report on Wednesdays.
For the week ending March 16, the county said 6 percent of all visits to emergency roonm departments were for flu-like illness. That's up from 5 percent the previous week.
In all, the HHSA said there have been 49 flu-related deaths this season in San Diego County. Last year, at this same time, there had been 307 flu fatalities in the county.
Meanwhile, health officials said a total of 7,184 influenza cases have been reported so far this season in San Diego County. At the same time last year, during an unprecedented spike in flu cases and deaths, 19,442 flu cases had been reported locally.
Health officials said due to the high number of flu cases still being reported in San Diego County, the HHSA is extending the order for unvaccinated health care personnel to wear a mask while they're in patient care areas.
According to the California Department of Public Health said there is still elevated flu activity throughout the state as of March 9. Influenza A (H3N2) ia the predominant virus with Influenze A (H1N1) circulating as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year. For those without insurance, county public health centers offer the vaccination.